Earlier this week, the Ulster Farmers’ Union called for a drive to promote the quality of beef from sucker herds.
In response to this, the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) has issued the following statement:
“LMC welcomes the UFU’s focus on the Northern Ireland suckler beef industry and recognises the importance of boosting returns to safeguard the future of this critically important but vulnerable segment of our agri-food industry.
“It is LMC’s long held view that the suckler beef industry requires targeted financial support within agricultural policy, and, with Brexit on the horizon, opportunities may exist to discuss and design policy instruments that will support productivity and profitability in the sector.
“Currently 15,000 family farms engage in this enterprise and, with 76 per cent of Northern Ireland’s suckler cows farmed in Less Favoured Areas, it’s a sector which contributes significant raw material for our quality beef offering and also sustains and enhances rural communities in every corner of Northern Ireland.
“LMC is the beef and sheep meat industry’s dedicated organisation and runs programmes including the Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme, participation in Red Tractor, developing new market access opportunities and providing timely and accurate market intelligence.
“Our Education Services Department does great work in educating consumers and post-primary school children on the importance of including beef and lamb in the diet and how to cook it. LMC also supports research and knowledge transfer initiatives, develops and promotes the sustainability credentials of industry and communicates the story of Northern Ireland beef and lamb.
“An important element in assisting our industry to realise its growth and profit potential is making sure that access to the best paying markets is secured and maintained and that our high quality beef and lamb attracts the best prices available in those markets.
“LMC believes that greater collaboration and investment in agri-food marketing and promotion between sectoral organisations, industry and government can only be good for enhancing our offering in the marketplace. Elevating the excellent sustainability credentials of our local beef and sheep meat sector, having the best market intelligence readily available, and having professional businesses with the capacity and reputation to deliver on exacting customer specifications are all key to extracting the best returns possible from the marketplace.
“LMC’s vision is for a sustainable and profitable future for Northern Ireland beef and sheep meat at all levels of the supply chain and we are keen to work with all our stakeholders to achieve this vision.”